This Pastitsio is a flavoursome Greek classic. Often called Greek Lasagna, a few simple steps and these layers of pasta, rich meat sauce and creamy bechamel sauce will keep the family coming back for more.
Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced.
Boil 6 cups of water with a tablespoon of salt. Once boiling add your pasta and let it boil away until just cooked (notes).
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE
Cook the mushrooms in 1/2 tablespoon oil until they start to colour. Add the onion, garlic and capsicum and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
Add the mince and cooking, turning regularly, until browned all over.
Add the remaining meat sauce ingredients tomato passata (puree), tomato paste, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Then rinse the passata bottle with the water and add that too.
Mix well, then turn right down to very low and simmer, stirring every so often, for around 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is no longer pooling.
FOR THE BECHAMEL
Melt the butter in a saucepan (you can use the pasta pan after the pasta has been cooked and drained).
Add the flour and whisk well. Cook for a minute or so whisking to keep it smooth.
Slowly add in the milk while continuing to whisk until it is all added and you have a smooth white sauce. Let this cook on low for around 3-5 minutes until thickened.
Take it off the heat and whisk in 2/3 cup of the parmesan, the salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Separate the egg into 2 small bowls. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the hot bechamel to the yolk and quickly whisk together. Add it back to the bechamel in the saucepan and mix well to combine.
Let everything cool for 10 minutes before assembling.
Tip the pasta into your casserole dish. Add the egg white, 1/4 cup of the bechamel and the remaining 1/3 cup of parmesan. Mix it well to combine, then level the pasta out and press down to flatten it a little.
Pour all the meat sauce over the pasta and level out.
Pour the bechamel sauce over the top of the meat and level out.
Bake for around 40 minutes until golden on top.
Let the pastitsio cool for 15 minutes before serving to get nice square serves.
The pasta should be cooked through but only just. It will soften slightly more in the oven but if you cook it too soft in the water, it will then collapse in the pastitsio.
For the bechamel, you can use whole milk or light (2%) milk. Both will work fine.